Solutions: Waste Management

Summary——————–Overview——————–Solutions

INDIVIDUALS
  • 5★Advocate for waste related large-scale solutions.
  • 4★Don’t buy stuff you don’t need. It’s the easiest way to reduce.
  • 3★Purchase used/sustainable products. Since we still need to buy essentials, we’ll have to reduce our impacts by purchasing sustainable alternatives. Avoiding products that lead to hazardous waste is a decent start. Note that the reuse of certain old products can lead to greater pollution/consumption – like old cars, toilets, or lightbulbs.
  • 3★Avoid single-use products. Cloths vs. paper towels and reusable bottles vs. plastic bottles are only 2 of the many battles featured in the war on single-use products.
  • 3★Repair stuff. Try to fix things or find someone that will. If it can’t be done, find a suitable recycling bin to properly dispose of the product.
  • 2★Get rid of items you don’t use. To extend a reusable product’s lifetime, sell or donate it. If the product isn’t reusable or repairable, then it should be recycled.
  • 2★Reduce your dependence on packaging. Small plastic coffee capsules aren’t the only example of ridiculous packaging strategies. Buying in bulk can help reduce packaging needs, as long as none of the contents end up being wasted.
  • 2★Inspect your waste generation to rethink your habits. Without necessarily going through your trash, try to examine which products create the most waste in your life and try to find more sustainable alternatives.
  • 2★When the first 2 Rs aren’t possible, take advantage of good waste management systems. Not everyone is blessed with good recycling or composting programs, so make sure to use them. Research general recycling/composting tips online to do it right. If you can find your regional waste management’s website, even better.
  • 1★Think ahead before going out. This can help avoid relying on last-minute items that are often single-use [e.g. bags, bottles, etc…].
LARGER SCALES
  • Governments: Implement a carbon tax for waste and pollution management. A higher carbon tax means higher carbon credits. Increased focus on acquiring carbon credits within the waste management sector can increase diversion rates, improve gas capture systems, and disincentivize international trash exports.
  • Governments: Incentivize businesses to “reduce by design” with improved policies. Disposal-friendly design can help businesses produce durable, resource-efficient, reusable, and recyclable products. Extended producer responsibility, taxes on single-use products, and bans on wasteful packaging schemes are 3 policy changes that can incentivize more sustainable business practices.
  • Governments: Improve policies to facilitate the ‘right to repair’. Better policies can ensure that individuals and repair shops have the knowledge required to repair products. Lower repair costs will encourage reuse and lower demand for new products.
  • Governments: Ban international trash exports to countries with weaker waste management systems. Unless receiving countries are specialized in recycling for a specific type of material, sending trash abroad just results in increased emissions and overall pollution.